The lawyer for one of Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leaders, who was dragged in his pajamas from his home on Tuesday in a police raid, says that the Maduro administration has refused to tell him where his client is or allow him to speak with him.
Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of a Caracas district, was first arrested in 2015 when President Nicolas Maduro accused him of scheming – with the knowledge of the United States — to overthrow his government. He later was placed under house arrest pending his trial.
Omar Estacio, Ledezma’s attorney, told Fox News in an interview from Caracas that the former mayor has been cut off from his family and his lawyers. His family and lawyer say the government’s arrest and detention of Ledezma with no information about his whereabouts amounts to nothing less than “a kidnapping.”
“We have not been able to speak with him,” Estacio said. “We’re not even really sure about where he is. This is a coerced disappearance.”
Ledezma is legendary in Venezuela for his vocal and persistent condemnation of the Maduro administration, calling it oppressive and corrupt. The arrest of Ledezma, and another opposition leader and former mayor, Leopoldo Lopez Jr., came shortly after an election on Sunday to choose members of a constituent assembly that will implement Maduro’s controversial mandate to rewrite the Constitution.
Estacio said authorities were conjuring up fabrications to justify the arrest of his client in 2015 and again earlier this week. He said they had characterized Ledezma as a flight risk, and accused him of violating terms for his arrest that called for him not to make public comments about the government.
“In no way was it a part of the process for his house arrest an agreement that he not exercise his constitutional right to make public…